Niebuhr, Schlegel, and the rest are all gone. ‘Old, Master Shallow, old,’ I feel it. I felt it, too, in London, though the survivors there were numerous, and fresh acquaintance were added, in no small proportion, to the old. . . . I saw your friend, Sir Henry Holland, and breakfasted with him. I need not tell you that he is coming to make you a visit, but you may be glad to know that he is unchanged, and as active as ever. He says he intends to go and see Mr. Buchanan. I hope he will. It may do good to have the relations they stood in maintained, if Buchanan becomes President, as I suppose he will . . . . We have, as you will infer from what I have said, rather than from any details I have given, been very busy since I saw you last. Indeed, it seems incredible, that we have been absent from home only seven weeks, and yet have come so far, and done so much. London life seems to me to have become more oppressive than it ever was. The breakfasts, that used to be modest reunions of half a dozen, with a dish or two of cold meat, are now dinners in disguise, for fourteen to sixteen persons, with three or four courses of hot meats. Once we had wine. The lunches are much the same, with puddings, etc., added, and several sorts of wine; and the dinners begin at a quarter to half past 8, and last till near eleven. Twice, spiced wines were handed round with the meats, which I never saw before, and did not find nearly so savory as my neighbors did. Everything, in short, announced—even in the same houses—an advance of luxury, which can bode no good to any people. But the tide cannot be resisted. I am not sure whether I told you, in my note from London, that I found Hallam much broken in strength, and with dangerous troubles. He was, however, very bright, and talked as fast as ever. He went to the country two or three days after we reached London, to stay with his daughter, who, as I heard, makes his declining years very happy. He inquired most kindly after you, and desired to be remembered to you. I think he felt it to be very doubtful whether he shall see me next spring, if I then go to England again. Certainly I did as I parted from him, and he said, ‘I am very old,’ and his eye spoke more than his words. I am writing now just as we set off. Addio. Write me how the Presidential canvass goes on, and what is the prospect of things generally.
In a letter to Mr. George T. Curtis, written two weeks later, Mr. Ticknor tells the following anecdote:—